FORT SILL, Okla., Jan. 28, 2021 -- Soldiers in the 75th Field Artillery Brigade tested their trust for each other on a ropes course in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
As Soldiers climbed, they were encouraged and even guided by their teammates. Those on the ground had different perspectives than those ascending, and they also had a rope that would ensure the climber’s safety.
“I can put my life in their hands and be completely comfortable knowing that they learned everything that I did,” said Pfc. Beverly Jenkins, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery.
The group of mostly junior enlisted Soldiers went on a special retreat as part of the brigade’s mentorship program.
“The brigade commander wanted us to do something to get the Soldiers out of the barracks, get outside, do something interesting, but also learn something in the process,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Ryan Lewis, 75th FA Brigade chaplain.
Before the retreat the group took the Myers-Briggs and Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment (formerly known as the StrengthsFinder) to find out how different personalities influence the work environment and how individual strengths can be brought together.
“The first day we focused on the principles of improving yourself. Leadership isn’t just about professional skills development; it’s about becoming a holistic person,” said Lewis.
Spc. Elijah Terrell, 15th Transportation Company, discovered his strengths lay in analyzing information.
“I’m a thinker, I like to think about the whole picture before jumping into things,” said Terrell.
The Soldiers also discussed the Army profession, how trust is integral to the force, and then they had a bonfire to relax and build camaraderie in the group.
“Learning in the classroom was probably my favorite part,” said Terrill. “It was good to get in there and go over some material that actually will benefit us when we get back to the unit.”
The goal of the mentorship retreat was not only to build teams in units, but also to give Soldiers the chance to make connections that will strengthen them outside of work.
“We’re hoping this provides them an opportunity to meet other people so hopefully they continue to build that golden triangle that allows them to have people to rely on if there’s something hard that happens in life,” said Lewis.
He added the 75th FAB commander has put an emphasis on the People First initiative, and as part of that mission they are executing time outs to make those connections.
“When the people feel like they’re part of something bigger, and that others really do care, then making the mission happen and keeping our units ready and resilient to answer our nation’s call and fight our nation’s war just comes naturally,” said Lewis.